United We Stand, Divided We Fall: My Thoughts on the Orlando Massacre

I have spent a considerable amount of time gathering my thoughts in regards to the tragedy that occurred in Orlando. Due to various reactions on social media, I have been torn between speaking my mind and staying out of the matter altogether. However, I feel compelled to speak the truth, even if it leads to undeserved levels of alienation and ridicule.

In the wake of the massacre, there have been a ridiculous amount of divisive accusations being thrown around, especially on social media websites. Instead of standing together in times of tragedy, we prefer to resort to finger-pointing and name-calling. We are so desperate for something to blame, that we rely on our pre-conceived notions to make sense of such situations. This is nothing to be proud of and, in no way, does it solve any of the problems that face our society. So here is the truth.

The truth is, innocent individuals were brutally murdered for no particular reason. To our knowledge, they were targeted based on their sexual orientation. Despite what some may believe, ALL individuals possess an inherent right to life. I don’t care if you are gay, straight, black, white, man, woman, Muslim, or Christian. Regardless of classifications, ALL life is precious, and there is absolutely no justification for murder. Period. My heart truly aches for the innocent lives who were unjustly taken away from this world, as well as, the families that never got to say goodbye to their loved ones.

The truth is, the shooter was a self-radicalized Islamist who was bent on wreaking terror upon our way of life.In the midst of carrying out his massacre, he pledged allegiance to ISIS via a 911 phone call. He had been questioned in the past about possible associations with Islamic terrorists. To deny this, is to deny reason and logic entirely. Whether he formally belonged to ISIS or not, his intent was to kill in the name of a radical force. Unless we recognize this, we will continue to blame one another for the actions of deranged and radicalized individuals.

The truth is, Muslims are not to blame for this incident. It is harmful to generalize, and I refuse to engage in that sort of rhetoric. It is important to realize that there is a difference between a “Muslim” and an “Islamist”, just as there is a difference between “Islam” and “Islamism”. The actions of the shooter are in no way representative of an entire religion, and we cannot continue in our misunderstanding of this. It is important to realize that radical Islamism is a threat to the American way of life, and I would encourage you to do your homework on this issue. However, we cannot fall victim to the propaganda that attempts to classify the entire Muslim community based on the actions of its radical factions.

The truth is, Christians are not to blame for this tragedy. Those who are adamantly against Christianity have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit and defame the Christian faith. Despite the ignorant claims of bigotry, the Christian faith is NOT responsible for what occurred in Orlando. Those who are attempting to shift the blame to Christians are doing nothing but distorting the truth and, furthermore, proving that they know absolutely nothing about the teachings of Christ. Yes, many Christians are opposed to homosexuality for religious reasons. Yes, many Christians want to be free to oppose lifestyles that they disagree with. However, Christianity DOES NOT advocate for the murder of innocent people. Those who do, are not Christians. Period. Don’t pretend that advocating for freedom of conscience is equivalent to brutally murdering innocent lives. If you think it’s intolerant, that’s fine, but stop using this tragedy to justify your own contempt with Christianity.

The truth is, guns are not to blame for this tragedy. You want to have a real discussion about common sense gun control measures? Fine. I’m all for creating a balance between maintaining public safety, and ensuring that individuals have the ability to defend themselves. I could spend all day debating hypothetical situations, but there will be no real progress unless we acknowledge that focusing on guns does nothing but shift the blame. As I wrote in a previous article for Voices of Liberty, gun control will be ineffective as long we continue has disdain for personal responsibility. So yes, let’s have a reasonable discussion about measures that ensure that the public is safe. I agree. But understand that anyone who immediately attempts to shift the blame to guns is failing to acknowledge that there is a deeper problem that plagues American society.

The truth is, our society has developed a complete disdain for personal responsible. No one forced the shooter to carry out the attack. Guns do not function without human action. The shooter made a conscious decision to take the lives of innocent people, and he alone is responsible for his actions. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, shifting the blame does nothing but enable a society that acts without any consideration for potential consequences. Before we start playing the blame game, maybe we could start with analyzing our own hearts and identifying the role that we play in this world.

Finally, the truth is, We are not enemies of one another. Our only enemies are those who will stop at nothing to exterminate the American way of life. We must acknowledge that evil exists in this world. We have allowed ourselves to become so center-focused that we allow ourselves to use tragedies to justify and advance our personal agendas. Until we reflect and look within our ourselves, tragedies like this will continue to occur. It’s time to stand up, accept that we will have our differences, but come together in defense against a common enemy.

So say whatever you’d like. Blame whoever you want to blame. Just realize it does nothing but isolate and divide. It’s natural to disagree on controversial political issues. There is nothing wrong with that. But I’d like to think that we can do it with respect for one another. I’d also like to think that we are bigger than blaming this massacre on one another. We are all American citizens, so let’s start acting like it. I will continue to pray for Orlando, the LGBT community, and all of those affected by this tragedy. United we stand, divided we fall.


Of Course Hillary Got The Nomination. What Did You Expect?

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Last week, the media “officially” declared that Hillary Clinton was the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. This sweeping declaration was met with a resurgence of the usual rhetoric that we have learned to expect from the Clinton camp: men are oppressive, Republicans are sexist, and Hillary is the epitome of righteousness. While the sentimentality is quite touching, let’s not pretend to be surprised by this outcome.

Before I am wrongly accused of being misogynistic, I will make it clear that I acknowledge the historic aspect of this moment. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to lead the presidential ticket of a major political party. I am proud of how far our country has advanced. However, this moment would be much more celebratory if the woman receiving the nomination was anyone other than Hillary Clinton. That may seem a bit harsh, but at least I’m not pretending to be surprised by this outcome.

In reality, Hillary was guaranteed the nomination the minute that she announced her candidacy. Bernie Sanders put up a good fight and, as an outsider in Washington, he certainly performed a lot better than I had originally anticipated. Although I refuse to #FeelTheBern, I actually enjoyed watching the 74 year-old “Democratic Socialist” attempt to dismantle the Clinton machine. However, it becomes increasingly difficult to win when your opponent is a politically-privileged liberal opportunist.

I know it’s difficult to imagine, but let’s pretend that Hillary is the altruistic savior that her supporters claim she is. Putting all politics aside, Hillary is (on paper) more than qualified to be the President of the United States. Just consider her extensive political resume: Yale Law School Alumnus. Former First-Lady of Arkansas. Former First-Lady of the United States. Former U.S. Senator. 2008 Candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Former Secretary of State. This resume has ensured, and will continue to ensure, Hillary’s continuous climb up the political ladder.

The truth is, Hillary Clinton is a prime example of the status quo. She is no stranger to the Washington establishment, and she knows exactly how to work the system. It is no secret that Hillary has made a fortune giving political speeches throughout the country. Averaging $210,795 per speech, Hillary has shown that she has the ability to effectively market herself. Don’t get me wrong, Hillary certainly has the right to give speeches, and to get paid for them. That’s the beauty of a free market. However, considering that many of these speeches were paid for by Wall Street, let’s not allow ourselves to buy into the notion that Hillary isn’t well-connected.

It just so happens that having access to an extensive network of well-connected Washington insiders is a prerequisite for success in a Democratic Primary. A basic understanding of superdelegates, and the role that they play, is all that it takes to realize that party insiders have a large amount of influence in choosing their eventual nominee. Let’s just say, it is by no coincidence that Hillary ended up with 92% of the available superdelegates.

I am in no way insinuating that Hillary won on the basis of superdelegates alone. Mathematically, she would have defeated Bernie based solely on her number of pledged delegates. However, there is no denying the pivotal role that superdelegates play in these contests. Superdelegates consist of elected members of the DNC, Democratic governors and members of Congress, and other distinguished party leaders. Since these individuals are not bound by the same rules as pledged delegates, they are free to support the candidate of their choosing.

When it comes to winning over superdelegates, the more connected you are the better. With 92% of the superdelegates rallied towards her cause, there is little doubt that Hillary was the top choice of the Democratic Party insiders from the very beginning. Considering the support she received from Washington insiders, the donations from Wall Street, and her ruthless ambition, it is absolutely no surprise that Hillary has received the nomination. Period.  

So congratulations. You nominated an establishment-friendly, politically-privileged opportunist who will stop at nothing to get the power she believes she deserves. This is neither an achievement, nor a victory for the American people. Hillary is a politically-privileged opportunist, and her ruthless ambition is nothing to be proud of. If Hillary is your candidate, that’s great. However, please don’t insult the American public by acting like this is an odd-defying moment.

Trump May Be Racist, But Most Conservatives Are Not

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Photo: Getty Images

Well, Donald Trump is at it again! Last week, Trump criticized U.S. District Judge Gonazalo Curiel, claiming that the judge was exhibiting bias while presiding over the “Trump University” litigation. The resulting backlash has led many to wonder if Trump is, yet again, resorting to the brash behavior that has become the theme of his presidential campaign. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Judge Curial is the son of Mexican immigrants, which Trump claims presents a conflict of interest due to his pledge to build a wall along the U.S. border. There is no substantive evidence that Judge Curiel has been motivated by bias, and it appears that the litigation will continue as scheduled. 

Now, I usually refuse to play the race game, and I am strongly against the politically-correct rhetoric that attempts to classify any controversial conversation as “discriminatory”. I will say that Donald Trump’s comments were irrational, and I personally disagree with his choice of words. However, I am not going to try to make this into another “TRUMP IS RACIST” piece.  

You can decide for yourself whether or not Trump is a racist. What I care about is the effect that Trump’s actions are having on the conservative movement. By consistently trying to exploit and manipulate the frustrations of the First Amendment supporters, he is providing the left with ammunition that can, and will, be used to slander, criticize, and demerit conservatives of all backgrounds. 

It’s important to understand that Trump is an exception to the rule. A man like Donald Trump will hurl insults and accusations at ANYONE who disagrees with him. When his ego is threatened, he has a tendency to respond in the most offensive ways imaginable. While there is a stark difference between an egomaniac and a racist, it is important to realize that perception is everything. 

In the eyes of the progressives, Republicans and conservatives are already made out to be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Christian, white males. I may have missed a few, but you get the idea. Donald Trump’s behavior does nothing to improve this image, on the contrary, it feeds into it. Hillary Clinton has, to no surprise, already capitalized on his comments, referring to them as “dangerous” and “bigoted”. Unfortunately, considering the facts, it becomes increasingly hard to debate her assessment. 

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, MOST conservatives are willing to be tolerant of others, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc. However, we believe that tolerance cannot be one-sided, nor does it mean that we need to accept or support things that we disagree with. I will be tolerant and respect you, as long as you don’t try to FORCE me to support your views.

Despite accusations from the social justice warriors, it is possible to be anti-political correctness, pro-free speech, and pro-tolerance. There are many rational individuals who oppose the politically-correct agenda, not because they want to intentionally hurt others, but because they desire the freedom to express their views without experiencing vicious backlash from progressive hypocrisy. Most of us just want the freedom to live our lives and to be left alone.

Donald Trump does not represent a true conservative attitude towards free speech, in fact, he represents the antithesis. Although he has gathered many followers in his crusade against political correctness, we have to be honest about what his main goal is: to crush any form of speech that bruises his ego. By exploiting the well-understood frustrations of the free-speech advocates, he is able to utilize his signature bully tactics to discredit those who oppose him.

My plea for the American public is this: don’t let Donald Trump define your opinion of all conservatives. We do not use speech to intentionally hurt others. We use free speech to stand up for our beliefs and values, and we refuse to bow down to political bullies. Instead of falling victim to schemes designed to discredit us, we need to stand together and show that we do not condone speech that is derogatory and divisive.